The Idea of Challenging Society's Perception of Personal Identity in Spirited Away

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Questioning values has become a norm in modern day society. Not only in America but in every country. People may not openly question values, they may just think it in their head. For Example in North Korea many people think in their head, “Man I sure hate this totalitarian dictatorship i’m currently living under”. But they don’t act on those thoughts because they will most likely be killed, and all of their family will too. But today, rather, we will be looking at the cases in which people stood up and acted on their values. We will also be analyzing whether or not those actions caused more benefits or rather more drawbacks to questioning those values. When looking at these cases you can clearly see that there are more benefits than drawbacks in challenging values within a society as evident in the cases of the renaissances peoples challenging of social norms, the popular movie, Spirited Away’s challenging of personal identity, and Martin Luther’s challenging of the Catholic Church during the protestant reformation.

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The Renaissance was born when people began to think more individualistically about their own personal lives and how they are as a person. They had begun to think more about humans as a people and the age of secularism was born. During the renaissance people began to value secularism, meaning that they were leaning more and more towards atheistic or agnostic beliefs. This in turn means that they were not focused on religious aspects of life but more focused on the secular aspects so instead of going to church they would go to school or read books. (this statement is just an analogy not an accurate representation of modern day activity in Renaissance times) When people started to actually question the values of modern day france and in the general western world, the only drawbacks were people who were very religious were persecutive of people who were non religious. Overtime, however, people would become less and less persecutive of those who did not believe in what they did, and more people were becoming focused on arts and secularism. The benefits, however, were the renaissance people were getting more recognition to their ideals and there was more focus on music and talking about science and painting pictures about non religious things such as individuals.

The popular movie “Spirited Away” represents an idea of challenging society’s perception of personal identity. In the movie, when Chiro, the child main character, went to the alternate reality where spirits of everyday things lived and functioned as a society to get away from their jobs in the normal world, she immediately lost her name after she was given a new one by the leader of the hotel Yubaba. She was told to hold on to her personal identity because she would soon forget it and no longer know her real name. Throughout the film Chiro (chi-hero) challenged Yubaba by remembering her name and helping other people in the compound remember who they were, like her friend who helped her through her struggles at the beginning of the movie. In the movie, the only apparent drawback to Chiro challenging Yubaba, her boss, was that Yubaba was angered and had a predisposed hate towards Chiro. Other than that there were no apparent drawbacks. The benefits to this challenging of Yubaba’s values of personal identity, or lack thereof, were that she was able to save people who had been suppressed by Yubaba by proving her value of personal identity. These benefits clearly outweigh the drawbacks.

The Protestant reformation was a key point in the changing and affirmation of the structure of the Catholic Church. This reformation was brought about by Martin Luther, who stood up directly to the church by writing the 95-theses and posting them on the door of the Catholic Church in hopes that they would change their ways. This makes people wonder whether or not that brought more benefits or drawbacks to the ideals of “Catholic Reformers”. They wonder this because the church did change a little bit but they also formed a counter reformation protest which would go against the ideas that the Catholic Reformers had suggested. To judge whether or not there were more benefits than drawbacks, we will compare the reformation points and the counter reformation points to determine whether or not the reformation was strong than the counter reformation and vice versa. The protestant reformation had many many points brought up against the catholic church, but the main and most recognizable points are that rural clergy were not educated on latin and were not able to speak it and didn’t have the opportunity that the educated ‘urban’ clergy were able to have. Even the catholic church listened to these points, they accepted that it was an issue and admitted that it needed changing immediately. However, even though they were willing to admit to those problems, the Catholic Church decided that they should proceed to dry to defame Martin Luther and claim his heresy by forming the Council of Trent. As said previously, this was created to make Martin Luther appear heretic and it failed almost instantly and was disband. The Catholic Church’s counter reformation was used to do 4 things: Strengthen the catholic doctrine, prevent the further spread of Protestantism, to regain lands lost to Protestantism for the Catholic Church, and to spread Catholicism to new lands and peoples. (source: Because of these things people wondered was the protestant reformation worth it? (by this I mean was protestantism improved or highlighted, or ‘deleted from history’) In short terms, yes, it was worth the effort. Although the protestant people came under fire by the Catholic Church, they were still able to get the Catholic Church to reform and become what it always should have been. The Catholic Church, it is important to note, in an attempt to stop protestantism, fixed the issues brought up by the protestant reformation and were able to even spread their own religion out throughout the world. Which proves that overall the protestant reformation brought more benefits than drawbacks.

Overall, when challenging societal values, there are more benefits than drawbacks. As explained in the previous 3 body paragraphs, when people have challenged societal values, in fiction and in non-fiction-real-life, there have almost always been more benefits than drawbacks. All three cases all have things in common, such as they all have 1 person or a group of people all standing up to question what has been a societal norm for a good period of time. As stated before, they all were able to fix what they saw as broken and ended up having more benefits than drawbacks while doing the process of their challenging.

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